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In Applied optics

The segmentation of blood vessels in retinal images is crucial to the diagnosis of many diseases. We propose a deep learning method for vessel segmentation based on an encoder-decoder network combined with squeeze-and-excitation connection and atrous spatial pyramid pooling. In our implementation, the atrous spatial pyramid pooling allows the network to capture features at multiple scales, and the high-level semantic information is combined with low-level features through the encoder-decoder architecture to generate segmentations. Meanwhile, the squeeze-and-excitation connections in the proposed network can adaptively recalibrate features according to the relationship between different channels of features. The proposed network can achieve precise segmentation of retinal vessels without hand-crafted features or specific post-processing. The performance of our model is evaluated in terms of visual effects and quantitative evaluation metrics on two publicly available datasets of retinal images, the Digital Retinal Images for Vessel Extraction and Structured Analysis of the Retina datasets, with comparison to 12 representative methods. Furthermore, the proposed network is applied to vessel segmentation on local retinal images, which demonstrates promising application prospect in medical practices.

Xie Huiying, Tang Chen, Zhang Wei, Shen Yuxin, Lei Zhengkun